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How to keep a language notebook??

hello everyone! In my quest to learn various languages that are not on duolingo, I have attempted to keep a notebook to help me learn.

The Only problem is that I don't know how to organize the information in an effective enough way that I can learn how to speak the language.

For example, I tried learning inupiaq. I wrote down all of the grammatical cases, Wrote when/why the are used, showed the inflections at the end of the words, and gave example sentences the showed the cases and inflections, but I didn't know where to go from there.

Does anyone have any tips on how to organize my information and what information I should write down to learn?

Thank you so much!

September 17, 2017



I have at least three binders for each language. The good thing about the binders is that they keep everything organized but are flexible as I can change the organization as needed. It's easy to add things or move them around. For a language that you are just starting, just one binder would probably be sufficient.

  • Verbs - These are mostly organized by tense with a tab for each mood/tense. In the front I have an unsorted section organized by Verb for those that are easy to mix up, irregular, or just have many different meanings.

  • Grammar - These hold all non-verb grammar information. I print a lot of things out from the internet in addition to my own notes.

  • Resource/Misc binder - These have sections for read, listen, and so on. Everything that doesn't go into the other two binders. Levels, apps, TV/Movies, and other resources,.


Thank you! I think that keeping a binder is pretty smart! And this is going to sound really stupid of me, but I've never even thought of printing stuff off to add to my notes!


I might do binders because i have binders that just sot on my desk, aand it sounds like a good way to be organized


when i write down information for learning languages, i generally write down grammar information on one side of the paper (folded in halves generally) and then put example sentences and tips on the other side. i leave another section of the notebook for vocabulary and another for colloquial phrases. another method ive tried is the "daily journal" method. each day i would write something new that i learned (ie a new word or sentence) and then at the end of every week or month i compile the information that ive learned which really shows progress well. hope this helps, good luck!


In my language binder, I have 6 sections: Listening, Speaking, Reading, Writing, and Vocab. My Vocab section is the fullest, and it includes a lot of verbs, their conjugations, and what they mean. When I encounter a new word, I will write the word, it's meaning(s), and the pronunciation of it as well. (for example, la fille = the girl, lah fee-y)

I find that it helps me to write down small tidbits of information that further explain a concept, or that I feel I would easily forget (because though the papers in my binder seldom get lost, the notes in my brain often do.) :) And, reviewing never hurts. But these are just general suggestions, find what works for you and go with it! You got this!

Happy learning! :)


Thank You! Do you have any subsections to those six sections? I feel like I personally would need to break down Vocabulary into maybe nouns and verbs, then further split those into certain categories that make it easier to find stuff.


Unfortunately I do not -- though I should look into this! I like your idea, and I feel it would really help me keep my notes intact. Tbh, my "Vocab" section does have a lot of verbs, like I said; but it also has little tidbits of notes that are in no particular order, though they do have category titles, in the sense of the term. So finding anything I need is based a lot on my memory of which subjects follow another, which isn't always the best way to go about learning a language. XD Thank YOU for your tip! :)


Haha well you're welcome I guess! I think I'll try making a vocabulary list, but organize it into things like "animals" and "transportation" and stuff like that, but I might have to make the categories broader. Thank you for your help!


You're welcome! I hope it works well for you. :) It sounds like a pretty secure plan.

"Always aim for the moon; even if you miss, you'll land among the stars." (W Clement Stone) Maybe you'll be responsible for reviving an almost-extinct language one day. :) Good luck and happy learning!


Hopefully! I'm really interested in Learning Hawaiian and Inupiaq so far, and I definitely want to learn another native american language! This is probably slightly unreasonable, but I really want to take the 23&me or ancestry.com dna test, and become fluent in every language that my ancestors spoke... but maybe more modern. Like I am 100% that I have german in me, so I'm learning German, I know I'm part native american (that's going to be very difficult though!) and I know I have a lot of other european ancestry too, so I should have my hands full for a while!!


AkicsiMacska --

It might seem like an insurmountable challenge now, but when you imagine that you have the entire rest of your life to do so, you could likely accomplish your goal. Like, maybe by spending around 3 years focusing on one language, depending on how many your ancestors spoke, you'd become fluent in all the languages one day. :) Keep in mind though that some languages may have become extinct over the years; but don't let this discourage you!

Haha well at least you know now that with your hands full, your life has a definite purpose! ;)


Hey, just curious, what do you keep in your listening section?


Depends on the language. For me (Kabardian) grammar is a literal joke. It's so intensive I could probably fill an entire 170 page college ruled notebook with notes on verbs alone and STILL not be finished covering material. Anyways, for you, try writing example sentences where you show use of the grammatical cases for your reference, then try writing a little when you're done.


Thank you, but I'm already doing that, and it isn't helping me personally.... that's why I'm asking for other ideas :)


When I started learning languages, I would borrow the books from the library, and write down the vocabulary and grammar in notebooks. I would go chapter to chapter, which I think is probably best.


I have tried that, but I get confused. I write down the part of grammar that sticks out to me the most, such as grammatical cases, and then I don't know what to do after that


I myself started a language journal for Japanese. How I organized it is with learning the alphabet of the language first, which you may need for learning whichever inupiaq dialect you've chosen. For example, I am currenlty learning the hiragana, and will be following with katagana, then grammar, and some major kanji that appears most in the language. My table of contents is a work-in progress, which I find really organizes what you have already learned and would like to review back on. I would post a picture if my phone would cooperate. For learning speech, I would suggest listening to radio, music, podcasts or anything with the language and take down notes of the most used words you can recognize. I guess this could apply to any language, but I hope that helps!


Find a way that works for you - and stick with it. When something doesn't work, try something else.

For me, notebooks tend to be in sequence. I have three notebooks for Spanish and some of it gets covered two or more times. I don't mind though, it's good to review.


I find using virtual notebooks much easier than real life ones, you can open them anywhere and anytime too. Presonally I am using a free Evernote account, but you could try Onenote or anything similar. Evernote allows your notes to not have any order, you can just tag them so you find them easily later on when you need 'em the most


I generally organise my info similarly to what grammar books do (Aka Substantives, Verbs, Adjectives, etc etc). Then again I might have previously typed it down in a word document.


I write down the grammar tips but also the phrases they give us to know the different usages of the words and differences between sentences, what I add later is my own sentences to test if I really understood it. I try to use other verbs or change the tense of the sentences... or I try to make a dialogue or a text with the vocabulary it gave me plus to what I knew already.

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